Putting together a successful meeting involves:
- Selecting a subject
- Selecting a format
- Finding a good speaker
- Publicizing the meeting
- Including time for networking
The obvious choice of subject for a group of microwave engineers is microwave engineering. Within that broad field, however, many topics may be of greater interest than others. In choosing the subject you should consider the mission of local industrial groups, university programs and government laboratories. It may also be useful to scan articles in the most recent copies of IEEE MTT-Society publications for ideas of timely subjects.
Formats which you might consider include:
• formal lectures
• dinner meetings with an after dinner speaker
• breakfast meetings with a speaker
• tutorial sessions
• social events (picnics, pizza parties, etc.)
• workshops or symposia
The amount of effort required to organize each of these various types of meetings varies significantly. A formal lecture requires only that a speaker and room be found and that the meeting be publicized. In contrast, an all day workshop or symposia can involve months of planning. Typically, the meeting format which requires the greatest effort also stimulates the most professional interest. A mix of meetings using different formats is suggested.
MTT Distinguished Lecture Series
An extremely valuable source of outstanding speakers available to your chapter are the MTT Distinguished Lectures. This program is an excellent way to obtain good speakers for your chapter. An explanation of how you can use this program is provided at MTT Distinguished Lecturers. Please note that IEEE Policy prohibits payment of more than a speaker’s travel expense; honoraria and stipend payments.
MTT Speakers Bureau Series
Another valuable source of outstanding speakers is the MTT Speakers Bureau. This program is similar to the MTT Distinguished Lecture program but requires more support from your chapter for each visiting speaker. An explanation of the program is provided at MTT Speakers Bureau.
Additional Sources for Technical Speakers
There are a number of other sources of good speakers for an MTT chapter meeting. You might consider:
• Local industrial leaders speaking on their view of future trends in the microwave industry.
• Local engineers, faculty or graduate students discussing recently published outstanding work.
• University administrators discussing the future of microwave education.
• Co-workers who are working on or have completed a major study.
• Visiting engineers/consultants who are experts on an important topic.
Without appropriate publicity, your meetings cannot be successful. A significant portion of your chapter’s efforts (and possibly budget) should be directed at providing publicity for your meetings. Some ways of publicizing meetings in advance include:
• Printed flyers circulated and posted wherever interested individuals might see them.
• Advertising in local newspapers.
• Announcements in your IEEE Section Newsletter.
• Email, letters or announcements sent directly to local IEEE members by Society affiliation.
• More information about media contacts and other forms of outreach are available from the IEEE Publicity Guide.
Mailing lists can be obtained from the online SAMIeee (Section Access to Member Information) program. Go to the IEEE SAMIEEE home page for more information. Information pertaining to the cost of these services can be obtained from your Section Officers.
Networking between members and between your invited speaker and your members is one of the most valuable and rewarding parts of any good chapter meeting. Be sure to allow time in the meeting schedule for relaxed conversation and professional networking and you will find your meetings better attended. A format that works the well for many chapters includes a social time, dinner or lunch, followed by a tech speaker.